American War

3.92 based on 5620 ratings & 1167 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 06.04.2017
ISBN: 9781509852222
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

'[American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war – part of the Miraculous Generation – now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

In the media

Follow the tributaries of today’s political combat a few decades into the future and you might arrive at something as terrifying as Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War . . . Poignant and horrifying . . . El Akkad demonstrates a profound understanding of the corrosive culture of civil war, the offenses that give rise to new hypocrisies and mythologies, translating terrorists into martyrs and acts of despair into feats of heroism.
Washington Post
In American War, [Omar El Akkad] has crafted a most unusual novel, one featuring a gripping plot and an elegiac narrative tone, but also an oppressively grim vision of a divided, selfdestructive nation that becomes a victim of its darkest impulses and actions.
Boston Globe
American War is a worthy first novel, thought-provoking [and] earnest . . . It is at its best depicting the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances and how those ordinary people are, in the crosshairs of crisis, forever changes, and how some can become extraordinary or at least affect history.
Los Angeles Times